What is FOMO? It’s that feeling you have that there is something more interesting going on somewhere else and you’re a little bit anxious or depressed that you are on the outside.
The term may be newish, but the phenomenon is not. Although FOMO turned into an epidemic as each of your Facebook friends posts a picture that makes it seem as if their lives are more amazing than yours. Never mind the adorable kids, dream vacations, etc., are heavily curated. What you may be asking yourself in the moment is why are their lives so much sweeter than yours?
But FOMO in its original offline strain is common as well. Indeed, it kept coming up in my conversations at Awesomeness Fest in Costa Rica.
And it’s no wonder. The invite-only room is filled with 350 fascinating, accomplished people from across the globe with big dreams and the drive to make a difference. So it’s natural to want to meet as many of these potential collaborators, mentors, business partners as possible. (Although romantic connections are not uncommon; a couple who met at A-Fest in 2014 recently wed.)
And FOMO was common here despite ample social opportunities. A-Fest is famous for its epic parties, especially the themed costume blowouts — including a “magical rainforest” closing night fiesta with women in neon body paint dancing to a live salsa band, guys doing incredible fire juggling tricks. Plus fireworks.
A common FOMO induced question while waiting to head home at the airport (where initial intros were still being made!) — what if there was someone here who I was supposed to meet whom now I won’t?
The answer: This is the best way to get over FOMO in general — know you meet who you are supposed to meet at the right time and place. Serendipity.
If your paths don’t cross when you wanted or expected to, can in the future, either in person at the next one (as several people who missed each other at previous A-Fests met at this one) or virtually, such as on Facebook (great, another friend with a perfect life you can envy.) Knowing this can take some of the pressure off.